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Comment: Re:Questions like this really reveal the definitio (Score 1) 115

by robbak (#47640229) Attached to: Can We Call Pluto and Charon a 'Binary Planet' Yet?

Again, I would have to be convinced that a group containing more than two objects with sizes within an order of magnitude of each other would be stable. Myself, I can't see it. Two large moons would push each other into chaotic orbits which would, sooner rather than later, lead to either a collision or an ejection.

The only way I can see a system with two large moons is with a planet that is completely dominant, such as Saturn or Jupiter and it's moons. (I'd argue, for instance, that Earth could not have held on to two moons.)

But these questions can really only be answered when we have more binary-planet candidates to categorize.

Comment: Questions like this really reveal the definitions. (Score 1) 115

by robbak (#47636331) Attached to: Can We Call Pluto and Charon a 'Binary Planet' Yet?

The answer is simple - that Lagrange point is not stable, so the moon would not remain there. Each moon would be pulled from that point by the other's gravity, until they either collide or one or both items are thrown from their orbits.

So as a planet cannot have two moons that orbit opposite each other, the concept of a binary planet with a definition based on the location of its barycenter is valid. But we'd first want to see one - Pluto/Charon is a poor example, as Pluto is considerably larger and heavier than Charon, so 'Planet/moon system' defines it better. If we start to find real binary planet systems outside of our solar system and stat characterizing them, then we will be able to know what sorts of systems happen and how they form, and maybe then we will find that Pluto/Charon belongs as an outlier there. But that's for a future time.

Comment: Patent is for use without music? (Score 3, Informative) 162

by robbak (#47542047) Attached to: Bose Sues New Apple Acquisition Beats Over Patent Violations

The thing that commenters over at Ars haven't picked up on - this patent is only infringed if the customer wears the headphones without playing music. Noise cancellation with added music - OK, there's prior art for that. Turn the music off - it becomes patentable technology.

The claim states that Bose is on the hook because their documentation states that you can use the headphones without music for noise cancellation only, which induces their customers to infringe Bose's patents.

How is that legit? How can not adding music create a patentable technology?

Comment: Re:Hmm, an immediate hostile reaction, you say? (Score 1) 200

by robbak (#47541197) Attached to: Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs

Not at all!

But as it currently stands, Comcast's customers are paying Comcast to delver the data from Netflix at up to the speed the customer is paying for. For Comcast to help fund Netflix' expansion so that they could better support Comcast's customers' demands might, just "might," be reasonable. For Comcast to hold Netflix to ransom is certainly not.

Comment: Hmm, an immediate hostile reaction, you say? (Score 1) 200

by robbak (#47537781) Attached to: Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs

"If a broadband provider were to {snip} block or degrade access to its site if it refused to pay a significant fee, such a strategy almost certainly would be self-defeating, in light of the immediately hostile reaction of consumers to such conduct."

You mean the hostile reaction you are getting right now as you do exactly that? Like how every one of your customers that has any other option dumps you in a heartbeat?

Yes, if anyone should be paying anyone, it is Verizon/Comcast that should be paying Netflix, as Netflix is providing the content that Veriz/cast sell to their subscribers.

Comment: I can see how you could think it dangerous. (Score 1) 200

by robbak (#47390971) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

But I can also apply physics and see how the danger is very small.

The biggest point is that the sky is big and both the shells and the drone are small. The chance of the two coming into contact is negligible. The risk of anything bad happening if that happens is also very small - the only thing I can see happening is if a rotor happens to cut the shell's fuse. The shell is too heavy for a fragile drone to have much effect on it.

Comment: Heavy solid shell, light fragile drone. (Score 3, Insightful) 200

by robbak (#47390935) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

The shell smashes the drone into tiny bits of confetti, and continues on it's merry way. Or, more likely the shell snaps off a rotor arm without noticing.

They will not bounce off each other like billiard balls. That's what happens when you have a collision between equal mass objects in which kinetic energy is conserved. This would be a collision between different mass objects where energy is lost to work - destroying the drone. The one with the most momentum wins.

Comment: Re:Illegal and Dangerous? (Score 4, Insightful) 200

by robbak (#47390927) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

Professional fireworks are mortar-fired shells, not rockets that can go off-course if nudged. So if a shell hit the drone on the way up, it would smash straight through it and keep on going. There is not enough mass in a drone, and a drone is not solid enough, to deflect the solid mass of a firework shell travelling at speed. It might not quite reach the same height by a few meters, or might end up a couple of feet off target, but neither of these things would matter.

And if the drone is up at altitude where the shells explode, then there is even less speed involved. The shell has reached it's height - so what if it taps a drone before detonating.

There is also whole lot of sky, and both shells and drones are small. The chance of the two coming together is practically nil.

Amazing pictures captured with zero risk. Images from a drone up there amongst it all should be a permanent feature of firework presentations.

Comment: What with all the other debris? (Score 5, Interesting) 200

by robbak (#47390871) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

The area under a fireworks show already gets peppered with the remains of all the exploded shells. A little added debris from a drone struck by part of the fireworks would make no difference. They always make sure that the fallout zone is in a safe area.

Add to that that the shells are mortar-fired, not rockets, and the risk of this is practically nil. Way less than the risks of just using and handling all that explosive.

Every professional fireworks show - at least, all those that are televised - should include shots from a drone up there amongst it all. The spectacular pictures are well worth the tiny risk.

Comment: De-orbit means 'remove it from orbit' (Score 2) 213

by robbak (#47081673) Attached to: Dump World's Nuclear Waste In Australia, Says Ex-PM Hawke

In order to take something from earth orbit and get it to the sun, you have to take it from earth's speed of 30 km/sec and slow it down to zero. Only when will it fall into the sun. If you leave any of that orbital speed on that object, then it will miss the sun, swing around it like a comet, and head back to where it came from. You could perhaps use a fly-by of Venus and/or Mercury to help you with that, but it's still a near-impossible thing to do. This is what is meant here by de-orbit.

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman